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Altar cross: M/P.24-1938

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 32 (Rothschild)


Silversmith: Unknown




Silver, parcel-gilt, bronze-gilt, wood and enamel; the wood cross is encased in bronze-gilt, with applied silver and enamel plaques, and parcel-gilt model of Christ; and stands` on a later parcel-gilt octagonal foot.

Silver, parcel-gilt, bronze-gilt, wood and enamel; the wood crucifix is encased in bronze-gilt. Each arm of flattened hexagonal form terminates in a fleur-de-lys. Set into the bronze-gilt are oval panels of silver engraved and enamelled with flowers. At the end of each arm, at the top and centre, and twice on the stem are silver engraved and basse-taille enamelled quartrefoil plaques. In the front, behind the parcel-gilt model of Christ, the plaque represents the pelican in her piety, above is God the Father, on the left is the Virgin Mary, on the right is a female saint, possibly Mary Magdalene, under Christ's feet the images on the plaque are not decipherable, except for a scull, but applied on each side are two coats-of-arms for the Franciscan Order and the Frescobaldi family, at the base is a martyred saint. On the back the plaques represent, in the centre, the Pietá, above is a bishop, on the left an unidentified canonised monk, on the right St. Augustine, below are the Virgin and Child, and at the base is the Virgin Mary or female saint. The silver trumpet-shaped ocatagonal base with silver-gilt moulded borders is later. The later stand (A) is rectangular and of wood. The later box (B) is covered with leather and has two half lids, which are hinged and have catches; the interior is lined with white velvet.


History note: Not known before Leonard Daneham Cunliffe

Legal notes

Leonard D. Cunliffe Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 51.6 cm
Height: 20⅜ in
Width: 29.1 cm
Width: 11½ in

Place(s) associated

  • Florence ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1937) by Cunliffe, Leonard Daneham


16th Century, first half#
1500 CE - 1550 CE


There are no maker's or town marks.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Crucifix composed of wood
Stand composed of wood
Decoration composed of enamels silver-gilt engraving
Surface composed of bronze-gilt
Base composed of silver
Plaques composed of silver
Wood Base Height 3.1 cm Height 1¼ in Width 14.4 cm Width 5¾ in
Model Of Christ

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M/P.24-1938
Primary reference Number: 119325
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 10 December 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Altar cross" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-21 22:23:34

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{{cite web|url= |title=Altar cross |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-21 22:23:34|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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